The Unbearable Lightness of Diablo III

The glass: Is it half full, half empty, or merely architected to accept an influx of additional liquid content?

I greeted the announcement of Diablo III with no small amount of enthusiasm. I had long felt that Blizzard was going to pass on Diablo going forward and so, when they finally said they were going to actually make Diablo III I was optimistic.

And I felt I had good reason to be so.

First, the Diablo universe, small though it be, is a great IP that is laid out well in the first two games.

Second, stylistically it has also set a trend. Everybody who has played the games knows what a Diablo game should look like, sound like, and feel like. Not that there is a single “right” style. Like pornography, I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

And, finally, we are talking about Blizzard here. The next PC game they ship that sucks will be the first.

So after the announcement I went through the Diablo III web site, read the lore, looked at the pictures, watched the videos, and then marked some time off in 2010 to go down to Fry’s and pick up a copy, because I don’t expect to see it any sooner.

Still, you can always find something to fret about if you look hard enough.

The inclusion of the barbarian class again, a carry over from Diablo II is a bit worrisome. There were no repeated classes when they went from Diablo to Diablo II, purportedly to keep things fresh, allow new skill trees, and to keep things a mystery and expectations down. So when the barbarian in the video seemed to be doing some of the same old tricks they did in Diablo II, I was a bit let down.

The other class announced, the Witch Doctor was new though, so that was good.

Then there is the whole “light and color” brouhaha. Some people, on seeing the videos, said, “That’s not a Diablo game! It is too light! It is too colorful!” There are reports that some people’s heads actually exploded.

Keith Lee, who is the Lead Producer for Diablo III said in an interview with MTV Multiplayer:

One of the things that we considered when we were working on the visuals for Diablo III is the fact that color is your friend. We feel that color actually helps to create a lot of highlights in the game so that there is contrast. A great analogy is like in Lord of the Rings – not everything is dark. It allows you to see what a creepy dungeon can be like but if everything is dark it doesn’t allow you to have a lot of contrast.

Sure thing Keith. I’m a reasonable guy. I trust in you and Blizzard not to screw this up. You have the time left to tone it down if the color thing has gone too far.

Still, not everybody is so willing to trust. With key individuals from Diablo’s past off at other companies, some people worry that we are going to end up with a Diablo III that has been run through the World of Warcraft color palette or some similar horror show.

And so pleas have been heard across the web, including petitions like this one, asking Blizzard to reconsider, or at least reign in the whole “Technicolor Diablo” scene.

But you cannot have an argument without two sides, and so others have denounced the anti-colorization faction and have created their own petitions.

I love the internet! Both of those petitions are worth a read, if only for the comedy value.

Not having given this whole colorful argument as much thought as some obviously have, I am not sure where I stand.

Which petition would you sign? The pro-color one, or the anti-color one?

Or will you just let it ride and see what we get when it ships?

11 thoughts on “The Unbearable Lightness of Diablo III

  1. Genda

    Without a doubt, I’d sign the Pro-Color one. Something doesn’t need to be dingy to be dark. And really, get a life anti-color people. Seriously. No really. Out of the basement now.


  2. Marchosias

    I’m disinclined to sign either one. So long as it doesn’t look like anime (a al FFxx) nor too ‘toonish (a la WoW) I’ll be happy. Personally I’d like to see a graphical mash-up between LoTRO/DAoC/AC2 and maybe Oblivion just for kicks – it’d be interesting.


  3. TheRemedy

    If the color stays or gets out of control then there will be a mod to change it within a week. It was never as big a deal as those kids made it out to be.


  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Hah! Indeed!

    I hope, among the things they have planned for D3, is some real support for mods or other such extensions. I think Blizzard could have made money with a “build your own Diablo 2 adventure kit,” if they had had it available 3-5 years back given how much people have done with only half-hearted scraps from Blizzard.


  5. Stefson

    Some people have to much time on their hands.
    I personally liked the videos, so I’m pro-colour. It looks really great so far, and the game is not even on the shelves yet.


  6. Mashidin

    My buddy absolutely refused to play D2 when it came out, stating that it was just too different from the Diablo we both absolutely adored. This is the same guy that has, for the last 4 years, called me on the phone, consistantly waking me up 3 days a week with an ethusiastic “You playing D2, man!?” I’ll sign both patitions just so neither one bothers me. I’m sure my friend was just too lazy to learn how to play yet another game 7 years ago, but once he took a second to play D2 three years later.. he really GOT it. It’ll be the same game. It’ll be the game we needed from the Diablo world. We, just like my old friend, just won’t know it until we get that sec to sit down and actually play it. Maybe I’m just a little less refined compared to the color/anti-color camp (which I suspect share more qualitities with each other than the rest of humanity), but I cannot imagine how a little color, or the lack thereof, is going to change my first experience. I’ll either get it…..or I won’t.


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  8. Newt

    OMFG, what is THAT? Having never really played WoW before…wait, what? What?! What IS that? Blue/green lighting is supposed to be scary? I see the anti-color vs pro color ration is roughly 25:1

    Actually, as an interesting aside, I’m hitting EQ2 to scratch my MMOPG itch. Do I need a quarter million Himalayan gold farmers to enjoy being online? No I do not….


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